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ICE, SNOW AND 27 BELOW, A REAL NEW ENGLAND HOLIDAY
By Paul Maraschiello
It was raining when we headed up to Vermont for the Holidays. I had forgotten about what can happen in Vermont in the winter in the rain. When we pulled into Rutland and made a mandatory stop for beer and other essentials, we overheard that one of the store employees had called in and told the manager that they couldn't make it in because of the ice of the road. I scoffed too, as another customer recounted that she had traveled in from the Killington access road, up on the mountain and there was no freezing ice on the road.
As I headed up the mountain, the roads seemed fine. As we made the turn off Rt. 100 onto the dirt road to my house in Pittsfield, I noticed that the road was glistening like glass. I passed a couple of cars parked on the road and hoped the all-wheel drive of my Eclipse would be enough to get me up the road. I made it past the first switchback and halfway up the steepest part of the road, then all four wheel began to spin. This was as far as we were going to make it by car. The rest of the way would be on foot.
When I got out of the car, my boots began to slide. My daughter Jessie called to me and reminded me that I could get more traction walking in the snow on the side of the road. We carried up the essentials, confident that unloading the car in the morning, after the sand truck had been by, would be a lot easier.
Conditions were pretty good at Killington, Sugarbush and Okemo, all of which had made a lot of man-made snow. Stowe had received some natural snow but things were skied off quickly and it got scratchy with rocks growing out of the snow. Mt. Snow had excellent Spring conditions and I was impressed with my first trip to Sunapee in New Hampshire. They were the least crowded and they are defiantly a ski area I look forward to skiing again. I was disappointed on my visit to Smuggler's Notch. They had the least amount of open trails (only 4 or 5 and they were blowing snow on the only challenging trail they had open.) Not to mention that the chill factor was frigid (-27 degrees)! I suggest everyone check with the weatherman before planning a trip there. On the plus side, I would be interested in skiing there when they have adequate coverage.
All in all, the skiing was pretty good, considering the lack of natural snow. In a previous article I stated "No one makes more snow than Killington, except God and that's only some days." This statement needs to be amended to: "No one makes more snow than Les Otten, except God and that's only some days." The marvelous effort made by the American Ski Company in covering over 70% of their trails with snow needs to be commended. The skiing was so good at Killington that I PURCHASED a ticket to ski there on several days, even though I could have skied FREE at numerous other resorts. HATS OFF TO THE SNOW MAKERS.